Love in the City
Amy & John
It took years for Amy and John to meet, but just moments for them to connect.
Amy Bureau and John Jefferson first met as kids through a family connection. John was one of her cousin’s best friends growing up, and Amy would see him every time she would visit her family in Virginia. “I always thought he was extremely handsome, but I never had the nerve to talk to him as an awkward teen,” Amy says.
When Amy, who grew up in Winslow, Maine, enrolled in McGill University in Montreal, Canada, her trips to Virginia became less frequent. Before her grandfather passed away in February, 2011, he had urged her to take a much needed vacation and visit her extended family. After he passed, Amy took his advice and booked a ticket. “Within minutes of arriving at my family’s home, John walks in,” Amy says. “I was instantly smitten.”
The feeling was mutual. “I was immediately trying to impress her,” John says. Though John had seen Amy a number of times in the past, he had never had the chance to talk with her. He took every opportunity he could to spend time with her during that visit, and they continued to talk non-stop once Amy went home to Maine.
“I was getting close to graduating from college and made the best choice I have ever made—getting in the car and moving to Maine so Amy and I could start our lives together,” John says. The couple settled into Portland, Maine.
Three years later John was ready to ask Amy to marry him. He suggested that they go for a hike to celebrate the start of spring. Amy suggested that they take a drive to Camden Hills State Park and then enjoy a wine tasting at a nearby vineyard after their hike. “John loved the idea,” Amy says. “Little did I know that I had planned the entire proposal day!”
When they reached the overlook at the top of Mt. Megunticook, Amy walked to the edge and began snapping some pictures. “John was standing behind me, and when I turned around he was on his knee with the most beautiful smile and a ring in his hand,” Amy says.
From the moment they got engaged, Amy and John knew they wanted a wedding venue that would fully represent them. They were looking for something special—and they found it.
“As soon as we walked into 58 Fore at The Portland Company we knew we had found the perfect location,” Amy says. Between the exposed brick walls and countless windows looking over the Atlantic Ocean, Amy and John knew the rustic, industrial space was exactly what they were looking for. The fact that the venue is located right in the heart of Portland’s Old Port was extremely appealing as well, as it meant that their guests would be able to enjoy the city both before and after the wedding.
The morning of their big day, Amy and John woke up bright and early. Amy went for a short run around their neighborhood to reflect on the day ahead, while John enjoyed his morning coffee at their apartment. They parted ways to get ready—Amy at a nearby hotel with her parents and bridal party, he at home with his groomsmen.
Amy and John had planned a First Look, and invited the entire wedding party along for the ride. Everyone boarded a trolley and headed to nearby Baxter Woods for a photo session. “My bridesmaids did an incredible job of hiding me from John as we took our seats on the trolley,” Amy says. “We played some of our favorite songs on the ride, and had a blast singing along with our friends and family.” After their emotional First Look was captured, everyone piled back on to the trolley and toasted to the couple with champagne on the way to the ceremony at 58 Fore.
Guests also arrived at the ceremony via trolley and were treated with local cider and champagne as they found their seats. “I’ll never forget the feeling of love and excitement that I felt as I heard the bridal procession music begin,” Amy says. “My father walked me down the aisle to my handsome groom, and it felt as though we were surrounded by more love than we ever imagined possible.” The couple’s ceremony was performed by a dear friend, and incorporated readings from John’s father and Amy’s mother, as well as vows John and Amy wrote together.
Amy and John’s main goal throughout the wedding planning process was to create a celebration that was uniquely them. They included numerous personal touches throughout the day, from getting married on a Persian rug that was part of John’s childhood to hand-painted directional signs, table numbers, and “Mr.” and “Mrs.” chair signs out of reclaimed barn board from an old Maine farm.
After the ceremony, guests enjoyed a cocktail reception complete with local Maine beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres. They enjoyed an autumnal feast, followed by the mother/son and father/daughter dances, and dessert. Then, the party really began! The dance floor was packed all night long. Everyone was having so much fun by the time the last song played that they decided to keep the party going in Portland’s Old Port.
While many of their friends and family celebrated in the city into the wee hours of the morning, Amy and John walked home hand-in-hand, already reminiscing about the best day ever.
In Amy's Words
We asked the bride more about the big day. Here's what Amy said...
I’m so glad that…we were married by one of our best friends. It made the most important part of our day so personal and poignant.
One of my favorite moments was…singing along to our favorite songs with our closest friends and family on the trolley ride to our first look.
I didn’t realize…just how fun it would be to see friends and family from every aspect of our lives gathered in one place.
I wish…I had the time to try all of our amazing wedding desserts!
I really liked…getting married in the same city we lived in. John and I were able to walk home together hand-in-hand at the end of the night–a moment I wouldn’t trade for anything.
My advice to other brides is…spend as much time thinking about and planning your ceremony as you do your reception. In the end, you will remember how it felt to be surrounded by your loved ones while marrying your best friend far more than how your venue looked.